Nuggets beat Pacers to give coach Brian Shaw win over former team

By The Associated Press

Posted Jan. 26, 2014 00:48

DENVER (AP) -- When it came to shooting, Wilson Chandler struck a balance between picking his spots and taking his chances.

Chandler scored a season-high 25 points and the Denver Nuggets snapped a three-game losing streak by beating the Indiana Pacers 109-96 Saturday night.

''I was just being a little aggressive, and I was taking good shots,'' said Chandler, who hit eight of 15 shots from the field, including half his eight tries from 3-point range. ''I probably took one or two bad shots but I was being aggressive and taking good shots at the same time.''

Nate Robinson and Timofey Mozgov added 15 points apiece and J.J. Hickson had 14 points and 13 rebounds. First-year Nuggets coach Brian Shaw won in his first matchup against Indiana since leaving his job as a Pacers assistant to come to Denver.

The victory against Indiana, which still has the best record in the NBA, lifted the Nuggets back to .500 at 21-21.

''We came out strong in the first half, and we withstood a great run from them in the second half,'' Chandler said. ''They're a pretty good team, maybe the best team in the league right now. They made runs, but we just had to stay focused. If we play well we can contend with any team. We've played well against a lot of the top teams this year but we've lost to some of the bottom teams. We've got to play every team like they're the best in the league.''

Lance Stephenson scored 23 for Indiana. The Pacers split a road back-to-back set after winning in overtime the night before in Sacramento.

''I'm proud of our guys after a second night of a back-to-back and change in time zones,'' Pacers coach Frank Vogel said. ''An emotional win last night, obviously, in overtime. I didn't know how much gas we were going to have in our tank. We really competed at a high level.''

Paul George added 18 points and David West 16 for the Pacers, who lost for the eighth time in nine trips to Denver.

Ty Lawson, who had 12 points and 10 assists, said the Nuggets gained command early by leaning on their transition game.

''We wanted to run with them on a back-to-back. That was a main focus,'' Lawson said. ''That's what (Kenneth) Faried did early. He was running on their bigs and getting easy buckets.''

Trailing by 19 at halftime, the Pacers got back in the game in a hurry, opening the third quarter with a 16-3 run keyed by Stephenson's seven points.

The Nuggets responded with a 7-0 burst late in the third that helped them take a 10-point lead into the fourth quarter.

Roy Hibbert, held to five points, became the second Pacers player to foul out after drawing his sixth foul with 3:19 remaining. Still, the Pacers pulled to 101-94 when Stephenson made a pair of free throws with 3:14 left. But the Nuggets wouldn't let the Pacers finish off the comeback, getting five straight points on free throws, including a pair from the foul line on technicals against David West and Vogel.

The Pacers managed one more basket down the stretch but that was offset by Hickson's emphatic dunk with 1:09 remaining, the final points of the game.

''They ran the same play the whole game (pick-and-roll),'' West said. ''We couldn't get it under control and then we just fouled them. They would have beaten us by almost 40 points if they made their free throws. They shot 56 percent from the free throw line. They make 10 more and it wouldn't have been a close game.''

NOTES: The Pacers have trailed at halftime 19 times this season, going 13-6 in those games. ... Former Nuggets executive Carl Scheer was honored during pregame ceremonies. ... Chandler had 20 or more points for the fourth time this season and the third time in five games. ... Indiana's Ian Mahinmi fouled out with 8 minutes remaining. ... All five Denver starters scored in double figures for the sixth time this season. ... The Pacers have lost five games in a row to Denver.

STAR OF THE GAME

Wilson Chandler

Points 25 8-15 FG, 4-8 3FG, 5-9 FT
Rebounds 6, 0 OFF 6 DEF
Assists 3
Steals 0
Blocks 0

GAME LEADERS

Points Wilson Chandler 25
Rebounds J.J. Hickson 13
Assists Ty Lawson 10
Steals Kenneth Faried, J.J. Hickson, Randy Foye 2
Blocks Timofey Mozgov, Kenneth Faried 2

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT

Nuggets coach Brian Shaw on Denver going 21-for-37 from the free throw line

“We make our free throws [and] it’s a different kind of game. The fans would have been happy because they would have got their tacos if we would have made at least one more free throw."

KEY MOMENT

Foye makes timely block to help thwart Pacers charge

The Pacers had trimmed a 19-point halftime deficit to six early in the fourth when Nuggets guard Randy Foye atoned for a bad pass by chasing down C.J. Watson and blocking his layup with 8:45 to play.

VIDEO RECAP

Postgame Quotes

Nuggets coach Brian Shaw

On tonight’s game:

“[It was] a win we desperately needed to get on our home court against a team of that caliber. We had two practices in a row before the Portland game and I thought we got better in those practices. I thought we played a pretty good 44 or 45 minutes against Portland and that obviously led to tonight and the effort and contributions that we got from everyone. For us to be able to score 109 points against a team that gives up 89 points per game or whatever it is they give up. We made an effort to really try and keep the pace and tempo up knowing that they played last night going into overtime and they got in here really late.”

On areas that might need improvement:
“A couple of the areas that I wasn’t really happy with; I think that we had a 19 point lead at halftime and we come out and they start the third quarter on an 11-0 run and then we had to fight for our lives the rest of the game. Also knowing that we have a game tomorrow night where we should have been able to handle our business a little better and finally just being smarter in certain situations. Talking with Nate about knowing the time situation; you can’t get on the referees and get a technical foul in the situation that he did. Free throw shooting – we were 21 for 37. We missed 16 free throws. We make our free throws [and] it’s a different kind of game. The fans would have been happy because they would have got their tacos anyway if we would have made at least one more free throw. We’re getting better; we’re getting it regardless of what our record is. I like the direction that we’re going in and we just have to now try to string some wins in a row.”

On Wilson Chandler’s recent hot streak:
“If he had hit more of his free throws he may have eclipsed the 30 point mark himself. Night in and night out he gives us a consistent effort on the defensive end. He always has the toughest assignment on the other team and it’s good to see some shots go down and be aggressive offensively like he was tonight.”

Nuggets guard Randy Foye

On key blocked shot:
“I hustled back on the defensive side and chased him down and got the block. Nate Robinson did all the work by cutting him off and I just timed it right and blocked it.”

On Pacers late rally:
“The Pacers started to make a run in the fourth. The blocked shot lead to Quincy Miller scoring and we did what we had to do to finish the game out. We just got to string some wins together and play as hard as we can and stay focused against the Sacramento Kings tomorrow. We have to be ready for those guys.“

Nuggets point guard Ty Lawson

On pick and roll:
“That’s all we do for the most part. We’re not trying to hide it, when J.J Hickson rolls it’s pretty affective but there are other things we like to do on the offensive side but pick and roll is our main offensive weapon.”

On Sacramento Kings:
“It’s going to be a fast-paced game the same type of game we played tonight against the Pacers. We have to be able to get a lot of defensive stops.”

Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried

On tonight’s game:
“It was a good win because it was against the best team in the NBA and they are on fire so it was nice to get the win for coach Brian Shaw. We had a good defensive effort in the first half but we have to carry that over in the second half. We have to play better all four quarters.”

On the defensive effort:
“We were running the floor better but the Pacers started getting back defensively in the second half and that made tough on us. Those guys got tired and we kept attacking. When we play good defense we are a good team.”

Pacers coach Frank Vogel

On tonight’s game:
“We had an emotional win last night in overtime, so I didn’t know how much gas we were going to have in our tank. We really competed at a high level. But, as is the case with most of our losses, we fouled too much with 27 fouls and we turned the ball over too much with 17 turnovers. Those two things have led to most of our losses.”

On defending the pick and roll:
“[The Nuggets] have great guards. They make great plays and know how to read it. You have to give them credit.”

On the Nuggets lead going into the second half:
“We can’t give teams leads like that. You have to understand that teams are giving us their best shot every night. It has happened in every game this trip. We have to do better in the first half.”

Pacers forward David West:

On what caused the loss:

“They just killed us in the pick-and-roll. They ran the same play the entire game. Their guys hit random shots and we lost … It just wasn’t good enough. Regardless what we did it just wasn’t good enough. They ran the same play the whole game and we couldn’t get them under control. We just fouled them. They would’ve beat us by 40 if they had made their free-throws. They shot 56 percent from the free-throw line. If they made 10 more this isn’t even a close game. We have to go back to the drawing board and try to reset our defense. Teams are attacking us right now in the middle pick-and-roll and we have to figure out a way to guard it.”

On if it took them awhile to get their legs under them:
“It took us a while. In the second half we got our legs under us but we couldn’t stop them. They had 37 free throws so way too many.”

On playing back-to-backs:
“We’re not going to make excuses. We’re not the only team that has to come from the west - Sacramento, then here tonight. We can’t make excuses. They were fresh and ready for us and they beat us.”

Pacers guard Lance Stephenson

On what the Nuggets did offensively:

“They were coming out aggressive and playing hard. We have to commit to the challenge and play harder than them. Tonight was a tough loss for us. We just have to watch film and see what we did wrong.”

On if they were fatigued from playing back-to-backs:
“I felt a little tired in the first quarter but I played through it. I know our guys are a little fatigued. We played overtime and we got in so late we were off schedule. We can’t use excuses. We are pros and we have to deal with it and get the win but tonight we couldn’t.”

On playing against former coach:
“Coach Shaw knew we had a back-to-back and he knows us. He was with us last year and he knows how we feel after a back-to-back. He probably told his team to push it on us, be relentless and go to the hole. They did that tonight.”

POSTGAME NOTES

INDIVIDUAL

• Wilson Chandler scored a season-high 25 points (4-8 3FG) to go with six boards and three assists. He has scored 20+ points in three of his last five games and is averaging 21.0 points, 5.4 rebounds and 1.00 blocks during this stretch.

• Ty Lawson posted 12 points and 10 assists, his 11th double-double in his last 12 games. Lawson is averaging 17.5 points, 11.5 assists and 1.67 steals in his last 12 games.

• Timofey Mozgov tallied 15 points, seven rebounds and two blocks in 24 minutes tonight. Mozgov has now registered 15+ points and 7+ rebounds nine times in his career, with seven of those coming this season.

• JJ Hickson totaled 14 points and 13 rebounds, the seventh time in his past eight games he has grabbed at least 10 rebounds (has six double-doubles in this span). Hickson is averaging 12.4 points and 12.4 rebounds while shooting .506 (41-81 FG) from the field in his last eight games.

• Lance Stephenson led Indiana with 23 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists tonight. Despite leading the NBA with three triple-doubles this season, it was the first time in his career he has posted those numbers in the same game.

TEAM

• The Nuggets snapped their three-game losing streak and moved back to .500 with a 109-96 win over Indiana. Denver has won five of their last six home games and have won 69 of their last 73 home games when scoring 100+ points.

• Denver has won five straight overall games as well as five straight home games over the Indiana Pacers. Denver has gone 15-3 in their last 18 overall and 8-1 in their last nine home games against the Pacers.

• The Nuggets moved to 5-0 on the year and 51-8 in their last 59 games when facing an opponent on the second game of a back-to-back. Six of Indiana’s nine losses this season have come in the second game of a back-to-back set.

• The Nuggets went 21-of-37 (.568) from the free-line tonight. Denver has gone 20-7 in their last 27 games when attempting 30+ free throws. Their 56.8% is their second lowest of the year.

• Denver is now 14-4 on the year when holding their opponents to under 100 points.

• The Nuggets scored 21 fast break points tonight, their eighth game of the year with 20+ (5-3) and the fifth time in their last 10 games.

• Tonight was the sixth time this season all five Denver starters have scored in double-figures.

• The Nuggets were outrebounded for the fourth consecutive game tonight, the first time this has happened since April 2012. Denver’s five offensive rebounds tied a season-low.